Jose Vilson’s blog is a must read for anyone who follows and cares about public schools in the U.S. It’s a smart take on education policy and politics with a strong focus on the crucial issues of race and poverty.
His new book, “This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class and Education,” is even better – an open-hearted account of the joys and frustrations of teaching in an era of polarizing disputes about how to improve schools. With teachers, especially teachers of color, too often voiceless, the book fills a big gap in the conversation.
But readers looking for a political tract or a detailed expose of reformist errors won’t find it here. Neither is it a slog through the pros and cons of various education policies. The book is structured as a memoir, grounding Vilson’s perspective in his own experiences.
“What you’re about to read,” he writes, “is the most honest account of my life up to this point and how my sense of self has influenced my identity as an educator.”
The son of a hard-working Dominican mother and a mostly absent Haitian father, Vilson grew up in poverty in New York. He was a good student, a “math nerd” who mostly thrived in public and Catholic schools and went on to study computer science at Syracuse University. Continue reading